Making Your Marriage Transformational

If your marriage is not transformational, it’s not a marriage. This is the premise behind the work that I do with married couples in my practice. I am a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with couples, and have dedicated much of my career to working with couples to transform their relationships from merely functional to transformational.

What makes a relationship a transformative one? How do couples go from having a functional relationship to one that is transformative? Relationships go through developmental stages, just like individuals do, in terms of their psychological development. Transformative relationships evolve when both partners take responsibility for their own “inner” work and recognize the sacred nature of their connection. There exists a shared acceptance that love has a spiritual quality and that being together has a transcendent purpose and serves each of their ongoing growth. Most often, this does not come without tension and conflict. The realization that each partner is not going to carry the burden of making the other “whole” can be the beginning of his or her spiritual development.

In my work, I also look at the “unlived life” of a couple, the unlived life of the relationship. Most often in individual work, focus is put on the individual, going back and looking at those potentials and possibilities that have not been identified and developed. Relationships can also be looked at in that way. What are the unlived things in the relationship that got left behind because of the “deal” that he or she makes with their partner about various tasks, functions, and responsibilities? What would it be like to look at love in a relationship without grasping, wanting, hoping or wishing?

Legalities aside, marriage is a commitment in depth made by two people. It is a guarantee of nothing certain, but it claims to be an expression of intentionality, which is serious, long term, and in-depth. Explicit or covert conflict is inevitable and universal in relationships. Partners have different ideas, values, and beliefs, so disagreement is inevitable. One of the implicit demands of marriage is that issues are to be faced and worked through, rather than evaded. Anger and confrontation can spur development, and differences and disagreements can give rise to new and creative opportunities. I have developed a model that I use with couples that I refer to as “connected dialogue” which helps partners develop those attitudes, skills and behaviors that effectively identify problems and issues. Solutions reached through this process benefit both partners and leave no residual hurt feelings.

In my work, I consult with many couples, whether married or partnered in a committed relationship. Together with my wife, Dr. Kelly Smerz, I co-direct Medical Psychology Associates, a group of mental health professionals with offices in Glendale and Greenfield, WI.   I can be contacted through our clinic’s website,, or 414-962-1000 (ext. 115), and would gladly accept the opportunity to work with new couples.

by Paul Smerz

10 thoughts on “Making Your Marriage Transformational

  1. I am extremely impressed with your writing abilities
    and also with the layout on your blog. Is that this a paid
    theme or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the excellent
    quality writing, it is rare to peer a great weblog like this one nowadays..

  2. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to
    say wonderful blog!

  3. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact bought me dinner because I stumbled upon it
    for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….

    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your
    web site.

  4. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I
    decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my phone ..

    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *